Breezy south end zone sends kickers for a whirl

Weston Hodkiewicz
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Mason Crosby could relate to the game New England kicker Stephen Gostkowski was playing in his mind prior to his 47-yard field goal attempt on Sunday.

Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby celebrates with his teammates after making a field goal against the New England Patriots in the first quarter during Sunday's game at Lambeau Field.

It was the same one the Green Bay Packers kicker was dealing with himself.

A 14-mile-per-hour wind out of the Northwest at the start of Sunday's game created a bumpy ride for the two kickers working on Lambeau Field's canvas.

It proved especially troublesome in the expanded south end zone where the flags on the uprights were blowing steadily left to right. Crosby noticed it on his two first-quarter attempts from 32 and 35 yards, but was able to muscle the kicks through regardless.

He didn't have the same luck in the third quarter when he pushed a 40-yard attempt left, thinking it would veer right. One quarter later, Gostkowski was sent out for a long attempt after Mike Daniels and Mike Neal sacked Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for a 9-yard loss on third-and-9.

With 2:40 remaining and New England trailing 26-21, Crosby believed Gostkowski took the opposite approach with his attempt sailing wide right.

It was only the second missed field goal for both kickers this season, though Crosby had an additional attempt blocked two weeks ago against Philadelphia.

"Anything over 40 yards on that side was a little tricky," Crosby said. "I think I made the mistake at looking up at the uprights. The flags were blowing pretty hard left to right. I kind of overcooked it a little bit. I aimed it a little too far left. I hit a good ball. It just kind of turned that way. It seemed like going that direction if you got it moving one direction right or left, the wind was kind of pushing it whatever way."

Crosby mishit a kickoff out of bounds pointed at the same end zone in the first quarter, though he credited the defense for forcing a three-and-out despite giving Brady and the Patriots' offense the ball at their own 40.

Crosby's three made field goals was the difference and helped him move past the 1,000-point mark for his career, joining Ryan Longwell (1,054) as the only players in franchise history in the club. Crosby also went over 100 points for the season.

"That's cool," said Crosby, who is now 20-of-23 (87.0 percent) on field-goal tries this season. "Just told me that. This offense, this team being able to go out and score points like we do. I just love being a part of it. I just want to continue to put points on the board and continue to help this team out."

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